The Bible Does Not Condemn Homosexuality: Romans 1:21-23 Proves It

by Joshua Tilghman on March 8, 2016

homosexuality and the bibleI have had many requests for a post on the topic of homosexuality and the Bible. Most have been from people asking for an esoteric perspective. I got the impression that these requests were from straight persons trying to understand how this lifestyle fits in from a spiritual standpoint. Since I am a straight married man myself, I’ve never had a real interest to go into the subject. But I am finally giving in to a recent e-mail asking me to specifically address the topic. Since I have gotten more than a few requests over the years, I figure it’s time to finally tackle it. Obviously there’s a significant portion of individuals who are wondering if the Bible really condemns it. From an esoteric perspective, the answer may surprise you. Hopefully I won’t get too many verbal stones thrown at meJ.

I understand that this can be a very touchy subject from either side of the fence. I will provide a scriptural interpretation first and then give a few facts that hopefully will give us a greater awareness of the subject outside of the scripture as well. That being said, we only need to examine a few scriptures from the Old and New Testaments to see where the Bible really stands on the matter. We’ll start with the Old Testament first.

“Thou shall not lie with mankind, as with womankind; it is abomination” (Lev. 18:22).

“If a man lie also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them” (Lev. 20:13).

A literal interpretation of the above verses does conjure up the image of homosexuality. However, the spiritual revelation is not the literal interpretation here. Remember, the deeper revelations and spiritual truths of the Bible never come from the literal interpretations.

As I have said on this blog before, man in his lower aspect represents the ideas, concepts, intellect, and reason experienced on the lower mental plane. A woman represents the emotional nature. Therefore, a man lying with a man or a woman lying with a woman symbolizes idol-worship (definitive proof will come from the New Testament shortly).

To clarify why this symbolizes idol worship, a man lying with a man represents reason and reason, or intellect and intellect, together. In other words, it is idolatry to receive the ideas, concepts, or reason (dogma, creed, doctrine) of another man when trying to receive spiritual revelation. The truth must come from God, and the path for receiving this truth is to go within, where the kingdom of God resides (Luke 17: 21).

Consider the alternative: A man and a wife together represents the mental and emotional desires united in the soul of one person. Remember, we are talking symbols here. The imagery of one man and one women together is representative of ONE soul.

Therefore shall a man leave his father and his mother, and shall cleave unto his wife: and they shall be one flesh” (Gen. 2:24).

The mind (man) united with the higher emotions (woman) are one. This is the way to higher consciousness and the God within, whereas two men together is an abomination because it represents mankind ignoring spiritual truth for the false ideas, concepts, and reasoning—i.e., another man.

Nature and experience tells us that men are more analytically and reason-driven, whereas women are emotionally driven. These acts are presented as abominations in scripture when sown together because it works against the divine path for the soul, and follows only a natural one which cannot produce any spiritual fruit.

Homosexuality is an apt comparison here to learn deeper spiritual truths, because the union of a man and a man, or a women and a women, cannot produce the fruit of the womb either. However, that being said, the scriptures are not addressing the physical act of homosexuality. Rather, they are giving us clues and insight to the soul.

So what am I really saying? Before answering that question, consider this. Does God wish us to really “put to death” anyone engaged in these activities? Think about the young boy who has been sexually abused or molested by a male in his younger years and then begins to manifest some of these acts later in life. Would a loving God really want such a person put to death? Someone who is acting on learned behavior? Some literalists would say yes because the Bible says so. But they are missing the bigger picture.

These scriptures are not emphasizing homosexuality. They are addressing a deeper spiritual truth. Now consider the New Testament scripture from Paul that should make everything crystal clear. He states:

“For this cause, God gave them up to vile affections: for even their women did change the natural use into that which is against nature: and likewise also the men, leaving the natural use of the woman, burned in their lust one toward another, men with men working that which is unseemly, and receiving in themselves that recompense of their error which was meet” (Romans 1:26-28).

The above scripture can only be put into proper perspective when we back up a few verses. Doing so reveals the true spiritual premise for which these verses are then presented. Only a few verses earlier Paul states:

“Because that, when they knew God, they glorified him not as God, neither were thankful; but became vain in their imaginations, and their foolish heart was darkened; Professing themselves to be wise, they became fools, And changed the glory of the incorruptible God INTO AN IMAGE MADE LIKE UNTO CORRUBPTABLE MAN, and to birds, and four-footed beasts, and creeping things” (Romans 1:21-23).

Paul is speaking of IDOL worship here. Making the “incorruptible God into an image and made like unto corruptible man” is referencing the Old Testament act of graven images or idols. Not only did they do this with man, but with animals as well (four-footed beasts and creeping things).

First of all, these scriptures make it clear that God gave them over to a reprobate mind because they engaged in IDOL worship. Hmm, so if we are to take all this literally, then is Paul saying that because men chose to make an idol for God, they naturally have an inclination towards homosexuality? Of course not.

Idol worship in scripture symbolizes anyone who follows after false ideas (usually dogma, creed, doctrine and religion) which bar us from spiritual truth. In fact, Gaskell states of Graven Idols (of which Paul is specifically referencing in the above scriptures), that:

They are “Symbolic of the objects of sense regarded as an end in themselves. Idols graven in stone signify the ideals inverted,–the mistaking of the shadow for the substance…”

He states the ideals (mind with higher emotions) “inverted.” Homosexuality can also be likened to an “inverted” physical act.

Again, this is why Paul states in Romans 1:28 that they receive a “recompense of their error which was meet.” Paul did not mean that the act of worshipping graven idols eventually led to their turning gay. But rather, any act of idol worship, including lying with man’s ideas and concepts, will bar us from discovering the truth, or the Christ within. In other words, when we involve ourselves in idol worship, namely sacrificing the truth of God for that of his or her fellow man, we are engaging in idolatry. It is in effect man worshiping/lying with man!

We are to look within for truth and the inner Christ, not without. Can we learn the truth from another man, or do we have to find it within ourselves? Christ and the truth of the spirit can only be found within. Idol worship is no different than going to man and listening to his dogma and doctrine to find spiritual truths. This is an abomination that will only lead to spiritual death. We cannot find the truth in doctrine, philosophies, or dogma. We will only know the truth when we know ourselves, and this truth is the only truth that can set us free from all doctrine, creed, and dogma.

Realistically speaking

To interpret Paul’s scripture literally would be incorrect for a few reasons. First, people who admit they are gay usually say that have had a predisposition for that lifestyle since childhood when sexuality first becomes known to them. If this is true, which I have no reason to believe it’s not, then to use Paul’s scripture against them, you would have to admit it’s a sin from a former life. Most hard-lined literalists would never accept the idea of reincarnation, so for them, to judge homosexuality as an evil abomination based on scripture would be contradicting the average literalist orthodox theology. To say it’s wrong just because the Bible says so is an oversimplification of the issue. Let me give you some more information to think about, just in case you still don’t agree with anything I have stated earlier.

Hermaphrodites

Consider the hermaphrodite. This is a real phenomenon where people are born with both types of sex organs. This happens quite a bit. It is estimated by medical sources that between 0.033-0.05% percent of the population are born with some type of intersex organs. That’s between 2,310,000 and 3.5 million people worldwide, considering that the total population of earth today is around seven billion. That’s quite a bit! In fact, it’s much more common than many genetic disorders. Why would God purposefully create this condition, if such a mixture was inherently evil? Hermaphrodites certainly didn’t choose this condition for themselves, unless you believe that we have total choice over our lives before reincarnation in order to learn certain life lesso­­ns. How can such a condition be explained from a literalist’s only interpretation of scripture?

Homosexual Behavior in Animals

A quick check in Wikipedia shows that homosexual behavior in animals has been certainly documented in over 500 species, and arguably up to 1500. However, there is a big caveat here we must address. According to researcher and PhD. Simon Levay, who has studied at Gottigen and Harvard University, the animal world may provide additional insight. He states:

“Although homosexual behavior is very common in the animal world, it seems to be very uncommon that individual animals have a long-lasting predisposition to engage in such behavior to the exclusion of other animals. Thus, a homosexual orientation, if one can speak of such a thing in animals, seems to be a rarity.”

But it should be noted that sheep are the exception, and about 10% of rams (males) refuse to mate with females although they regularly mate with other males. Did an external impotent being who says homosexuality is an abomination create sheep to engage in this behavior?

If we back up to Levay’s comment, long lasting disposition should be what we focus on. This means that although homosexual behavior in animals is common, it isn’t a life commitment instinct or desire. I will admit that in one sense this can be argued against homosexuality. It is a lustful act of the lower animal nature? But what about homosexuals that commit for life? Can they learn the same life lessons of self-sacrifice and love that heterosexuals can learn? And isn’t this in a sense crucifying the ego if they do? It’s something to think about.

Conclusion

The point of this scriptural interpretation is not to argue that homosexuality is right or wrong. I am simply stating what the deeper spiritual meaning of the scriptures are. After looking into the subject, one thing I can say for sure: The Bible should not be used as a tool to condemn those who are gay. It was never intended for this purpose. Jesus clearly tells us not to judge. Yes, Jesus tells us that from the beginning God meant for one man and women to be together. But again, this is speaking to the spiritual nature of a complete man who incorporates both the masculine and feminine aspects (mind and higher emotions). Genesis even states that to be made in God’s image is both male and female (Gen. 1:26).

Since I have always been straight and became happily married to a woman I can in no way understand the thoughts and feelings of someone who is gay. I would never condemn people who say they have a genuine propensity towards the opposite sex. Do I understand this sexual orientation? No. I have never felt this way. But to say homosexuality is wrong just because the Bible says so is not correct.

I’ll admit that I do have some unanswered questions about the subject. Perhaps this post will serve as only and introduction to a follow-up post in the future with further contemplation and reflection into the matter. I have a lot more ideas which would incorporate reincarnation into the debate, but I will leave it where it is for now.

Perhaps someone else can add some valuable food for thought. As always, comments are more than welcome.

Blessings.

{ 30 comments… read them below or add one }

adrianne March 9, 2016 at 3:33 am

Hi Josh, is it not possible that we are all on a path from being unconscious of our totality (male and female energy as one being) to being fully conscious of it. Within the process of remembrance we reincarnate with different degrees of male and female energy until we come into a balance between the two consciously within ourselves. In other words I may be born female this life time but I have started to incorporate male energy and therefore I am attracted to women or I might be a male energy needing more female energy therefore I choose to be a woman and be attracted to them because I need the balance. What about the word Eunuch where Jesus some are born that way ?

Reply

Joshua Tilghman March 10, 2016 at 10:14 pm

Adrianne,

An excellent comment and observation. This is what I meant by a follow-up post where I mention reincarnation. To be made in God’s image is both male and female, where masculine and feminine energies come together to form the spiritual whole man.

You bring up the Eunuch. Mathew 19:12 states:

“…and there be some eunuchs, which have made themselves eunuchs for the kingdom of heaven’s sake”

In this sense, Jesus is telling us that one of the symbolic meanings of this type of Eunuch is that there are those egos which control the desire nature both mentally and morally and so pursue the spiritual nature of man.

A post could be written on this topic alone. Thanks again.

Reply

Marti L. Foster March 9, 2016 at 2:15 pm

Thank you very much Josh, for this enlightening post about homosexuality. I’d just like to add that sex in and of itself is a natural bodily function and I am sure millions of years ago that humans regularly engaged in what we call homosexual activity prior to the knowledge or information that they were doing something wrong. Organized religion turned things upside down in many respects and surely sex was one of them. Religion brought shame and guilt into the picture, maybe the leaders of the day couldn’t find any other way to control the populace.

Reply

Joshua Tilghman March 10, 2016 at 10:21 pm

Marti,

You are very welcome. Homosexuality is recorded in very early historical artifacts, and the act has been around as long as history itself. As Adrianne mentioned above, reincarnation surely plays a part in this. Whether there is more benefit in heterosexual practice will be a post I shall I explore another time, but for now let’s just say we should never judge those who genuinely feel exploring this mode of sexual behavior is who they are.

Reply

Jhundi P March 9, 2016 at 3:52 pm

Thank you so much for another great post. This whole site feeds my Soul like no other and has led me to have a whole new appreciation for my Christian heritage. Thanks to you I now understand religion in a way that has cancelled my former judgments of it.

As a heterosexual woman with many homosexual friends whom I hold no judgment of, I found myself wondering a few years ago, how I really, unconsciously judge the issue. I thought about how much I love my husband and, even though I have no sexual attraction to other women myself, I cannot say that him being female would change the love I have for him. That love was so instant, intense, enveloping and encompassing that it feels like a Soul connection and I believe that were we to be the same gender, that love would still exist as it is now. I don’t know what it’s like for others but I make no judgment either way because I’m in love with a Soul and not just a physical body.

Reply

Joshua Tilghman March 10, 2016 at 10:29 pm

Jhundi,

Thank you for sharing your thought-provoking statements. We’ve all heard it said that love is a choice, and indeed it is, because even when we don’t feel like loving we can still choose to do so. However, it is also true that we cannot choose what attracts us. We are all born with a natural affinity towards certain soul qualities. Blessings.

Reply

Sally March 9, 2016 at 5:25 pm

Being a Metaphysician and spiritually advanced, I know that energy is pure; WE bring to it our own thoughts, fears and doubts – those are the ‘animals’ and ‘birds’ (although ‘birds’) mean something slightly different. When we own our own ‘shadow’ – e.g. if a man doesn’t own his own shadow that of the anima, or female side, and make his male (external side) as one with the internal anima, then that ‘shadow’ becomes projected onto his environment and onto other folk. That is the way the world is. However when we contain the energy, or let it pass through us to keep us whole, and pure, and well, and happy, we are ONE. The purpose of our life is to know God/Spirit, Substance, and to WITHHOLD OUR PROJECTIONS AND TRANSFERENCES. When we complete the circuit, we are what Jung called, individuated, autonomised. As we have not been taught these understandings, spiritual truths, we subsequently externalise them. MAN IS MADE FOR WOMAN, AND WOMAN IS MADE FOR MAN – this is the only true energy cycle. (The Shadow or more specifically the collective unconscious, is of course a great source of un-recreated energy – and there is a link now to it being the ether, or the black hole.) I believe that is why we are being pushed to ‘believe’ just any old thing – so that we do not know, or come to know, the TRUTH OF BEING. (While ever we do not do the work on ourselves, this shadow energy will be used for wrong things, and used against us as individuals, as well against the world – and the exploitation will continue until WE each one of us becomes whole, in The Christ, the Christ Consciousness (that is across ALL world religions – and that is for a reason.) Religion or GOD/SPIRIT/SUBSTANCE did not being shame and guilt. It is us the human who has failed to see and understand – and literally eaten of the fruit of good and evil. We need to eat of the Tree of Knowledge of GOODNESS. *** Idolatory is quite literally and spiritually, and metaphysically ‘missing the mark’ – it is not about external idols, or words, or things, it is about remembering that we are, each one of us, Children of God, Spirit, Substance; and that our first appointment each and every minute of every day, is GOD/SPIRIT/SUBSTANCE so that we PRACTICE THE PRESENCE OF GOD. I AM. I AM THE PRESENCE OF GOD, OF SPIRIT, OF SUBSTANCE.

Reply

Joshua Tilghman March 10, 2016 at 10:57 pm

Sally,

I tend to agree with much of what you have said. But such truths are found beyond the ego. Energy must be balanced, but the way there should never be judged, and certainly the scriptures cannot be used to do so. Jung also once said of homosexual individuals, “Well, they are the only people who are trying doing something against over-population.”

Sex between homosexual and heterosexual individuals, depending on intent and desire, can limiting or freeing in some sense. But ultimately, birthing the Christ within leads us towards our original androgynous nature, where God is known as both the incorporation of male and female energy as ONE.

Blessings.

Reply

Tracy August 20, 2016 at 8:11 pm

The tree of knowledge is not the tree you want to partake of. Knowledge is not permanent. It dies with the mind/brain. Love is all that matters and im not speaking of the emotional body. If knowledge was the way to God then professors would have the monopoly of all truth and those that are not blessed intellectually would be left out of the kingdom altogether and at the mercy of mans knowledge. One thing I do know for sure…when you go within to pray/meditate and kneel at the alter…you leave all concepts, ideas, beliefs at the door. What good is knowledge then?

Reply

dominick virgilio February 18, 2017 at 5:33 pm

hosea 4: 6 “my people are destroyed for a lack of knowledge”, jesus said “know the truth and it will set you free” you need knowledge to get to the higher spiritual plane, don’t knock knowledge, true love is the highest form of knowledge!

Reply

Laurens Sipahelut March 9, 2016 at 10:20 pm

As always, thank you, Joshua, for your insight. Can you interpret the act of sex against the Hermetic saying ‘as above so below’, meaning that ‘below’ copulation between a man and a woman bears the fruit of the flesh (i.e. offspring) but that ‘above’ the merging of feminine and masculine energies bears the fruit of the Spirit (i.e. Epiphany)?

Reply

Joshua Tilghman March 10, 2016 at 11:02 pm

Laurens,

The above comment with Sally might give some insight. The higher self is neither male of female, just as God is Spirit. Consciousness, through it’s varied experience in the lower planes manifest as a duality and thus we have a male / female physiology. Consciousness had to find a way to copulate in this duality. However, beyond the ego male and female energies exist as ONE.

Reply

Sally March 10, 2016 at 4:48 pm

“As above, so below…” is not about the sex act perse. It is about your subconscious mind being cleared of all debris, wrong thinking, doubts, fears… and the ‘above’ is putting in the higher thought, wisdom, of The Christ. The bearing of fruit (The Holy Spirit or Christ Consciousness) of the flesh (race/material consciousness) means lower thinking. At a literal level, if a man and a woman prepare themselves in the Christ Consciousness before they decide to express their desire to make love, then that act is of a higher vibration that if they do not have the Christ Consciousness/Holy Spirit (in Christian terms) inside that love making. The merging of the feminine and masculine energies are inside each individual, not an external thing. Yes, the fruit of the Spirit is The Christ. (Epiphany: The Manifestation of the Magi to The Christ is its literal meaning. Metaphysically, the Magi were wise men at a material/race consciousness level, but they knew that something else was missing, and that is why they followed the star to Bethlehem (house of bread, house of sustenance; meaning the abiding place of substance. It literally indicates the nerve centre at the pit of the stomach (solar plexus, or abdomenable brain) through which universal substance joins the refined spiritualised chemical products of the body substance. Through this process generated elements make up the electrical body of the Christ man. Jesus was born in Bethlehem of Judea. Judea means PRAISE, or spiritual recognition. More later.
A little insight for you all – when reading all great religious works, one reads them historically, ethically/morally, and self-consciously, with the potential to understand the Christ Consciousness. IN ALL THINGS.

Reply

Robert March 10, 2016 at 8:02 pm

Josh and others,

Josh, I totally commend you for your bravery, tact, and sensitivity in discussing homosexuality and the bible. This is a very complicated subject that can easily offend people on either side of controversy regarding acceptance of homosexuality. I think your approach is an interesting way of pointing out a unique and sacred purpose of combining male and female, while still finding some purpose and allowance for male-male and female-female interactions, both in the natural and in the symbolic spiritual connotations. Your approach is one way of filling in the gap between the OT verses ,which when interpreted literally, present us with a dilemma of condemning homosexuality even though we live in an age where homosexuality seems to be a biological inevitability rather than a personal choice. Gay rights groups have tried to close the gap by reinterpreting the OT scriptures in a different way than you have. They may be interested in your approach too.

Was homosexuality considered a taboo by the ancient Hebrews? I am fairly certain it was when the ancient Hebrews were abiding by the Torah, which is wasn’t very often. I believe that Islam developed its moral code for social and sexual behavior from the Jews, who they claim they are connected to through Abraham. Muslims condemn homosexuality. So I tend to think this is part of the moral code they inherited from the Jews. Orthodox Jews today, and throughout all time, have treated homosexuality as a sin of the flesh. I don’t think they stone homosexuals to death, but they may expel them from their communities. Reform Jews in America accept homosexuality and some work together with gay rights organizations; but they are “reform” meaning they do not abide by the ancient laws and traditions, but adapt to the conditions and norms of modern society.

So, yes, the ancient Jews who followed the law condemned homosexuality. This strongly suggests this was the intent of the Torah, rather than a hidden meaning about masculine and feminine aspects of spirituality. This tradition was carried into the church and still followed strictly by evangelicals. The present Pope seems to be bending more and more on the side of compassion to accept homosexuals in some way.

Jesus dealt with adultery by showing compassion to the woman caught in it, and he told her to go free and sin no more. This is usually not what homosexuals are doing – repenting and ceasing from future acts of homosexuality, and our modern understanding is that they are not biologically or psychologically capable of suppressing such strong sexual drives, and are therefore in need of acceptance and support, and the opportunity for spiritual fulfillment irregardless if it is considered a sin or not.

Josh, your approach solves a lot of problems in filling this gap, and is worthy of consideration. My personal feeling is that I respect it, however I disagree with it. I do not believe we can fill in the gaps your way. These gaps are discrepancies between what the bible seems to say with our humane feelings and judgments (or non-judgments). I do not believe in trying to fix discrepancies by imposing a totally foreign system of theology and metaphysics on the bible, especially one that deconstructs the basic foundations of the bible and turns it into a totally different religion, that the bible itself warns against doing. As much as I admire your efforts to fix such a complex issue, I oppose doing it that way.

I don’t know a perfect way to fix it, but I am inclined to believe that the authors of the bible were not perfect transmitters of the logos, but interpreted it through the filters of the culture, expectations, and ignorance of the times they lived in. Jesus was the perfect transmitter, and was immune to that, and if his words were recorded accurately, which I believe they were, we notice he did not condemn homosexuals or cure any of them of it, but he did make a statement about marriage between a man and woman being sacred. So I have been inclined to think the best fix is to apply reforms to the moral laws to overcome some of the cultural ignorance of them times during which they were expressed. At other times I have struggled with the suspicion there may be something not quite right about homosexuality, even if it appears to be, as people have claimed, to be biology and not personal choice. Even though homosexuals and bisexuals may be vulnerable in a society that until recently rejected them as normal, some have hurt a lot of other people.

But in any case, I will always reject trying to fix various gaps and discrepancies in the bible with non-biblical metaphysics and foreign theologies, because the bible says not to, and because it may seem to fix a small issue, but it destroys the entire biblical message about redemption through Jesus Christ, the Messiah. I consider it an easy way out that leads one away from the God who is defined in the bible, and lead one towards a disguised form of pagan mysticism.

We cannot have Christ Consciousness if we are unwilling to submit to and follow Jesus Christ.

Reply

Joshua Tilghman March 10, 2016 at 11:22 pm

Robert,

Thank you for your heart-felt comment. I understand and can appreciate your perspective. Many years ago, when I held a more Orthodox position, I would have said anyone that was gay was going against God. However, I have grown to see that the traditional Biblical perspective also fails to address deeper valid social, spiritual, and physical issues which we cannot escape if we give them an honest reflection.

And also thank you for your honesty. Even though you don’t agree with it, you obviously withhold judgment.

It is true, at least from my research, that ancient Jewish communities who followed the law condemned homosexuality. They also believed adultery should end in stoning, but Jesus told the women to sin no more. From an esoteric perspective, adultery signifies forsaking realization of the higher self and spiritual truths for desire, which comes from the animal-self.

My point is that just while many ancient Jewish communities condemned homosexuality, it doesn’t mean they were right nor understood the deeper spiritual meanings of life and the scriptures. We should not use this as a precedence for spiritual truth.

I have found that esoteric literature addresses these issues with compassion and care, whereas the Orthodox usually does not.

Blessings.

Reply

Robert March 11, 2016 at 1:59 pm

Josh,

I truly share your sentiments about finding some church people who are judgmental and some who seem fixated on dogma, and the various categories of issues you refer to. That was part of the motivation for me exploring your brand of esoteric adaptation of Christianity. What I discovered is that people are people, and if I prayed and waited long enough God was able to bring me into contact with church members who were open minded and had escaped those many issues. It took a lot of humility on my part because I was expecting not to find it and just waiting for someone to rub me wrong. So I am thinking it is not the bible that has caused those issues, but not teaching or following what the bible intended in its non-esoteric presentation. Part of this may be due the fact that institutions may be more interested in getting members and keeping up attendance, than in focusing on making the kind of changes in people that would overcome those issues. Its also as part of our culture, especially the less educated who tend to stick to the habits of their immediate ancestors. So many local churches spend a lot of time getting down to the level of its members and fear offending them, instead of lifting them up to a higher level of self-awareness and functioning. But I believe, and have witnessed, those higher levels functioning in some church members, and so I would concluded that the potential to develop that is there in and through the non-esoteric forms.

Conversely, I have witnessed some hypocritical behavior among those who portend to practice the esoteric versions And I think some of the esoteric community think they are better behaved and self-aware, and that it is their expectation to believe so, even though it may often be more of an individual and community reinforced illusion.

I grant you, the esoteric community does try to deal with self-contentedness and improved self-awareness – mediation and practicing mindfulness in the here and now.

From my emerging point of view, those benefits of meditation and mindfulness can be obtained without depending on Eastern mysticism and metaphysics, simply by committing them to Christ. I have a problem with agreeing that the phenomenon of Gnosis is genuinely an independently obtained awakening of consciousness. I am fairly certain that the initial experience of mindfulness and self-awareness has no strings attached to it, but strings are introduced by the presentation of metaphysical structures and theologies of Eastern mysticism, which is a manufactured system of beliefs. What was meant to be a therapeutic practice for self-growth is now propelled into a form of Eastern mysticism. The therapeutic part by itself is always good and unbiased toward any system of beliefs. But hooking it up to Eastern mysticism by claiming hidden meanings to bible verses that are the opposite of what they are simply intended to mean creates a new pagan syncretism that far surpasses what might have been introduced by the Romanization of Christianity. It can’t be valid if it leads to rejection of the basic foundations of Christianity. So the word “esoteric” is somewhat misleading in this regard, because the actual effect is a grand denial of the “as is” meaning of the bible message. In the long run I would say it could be quit toxic in leading others into believing they save themselves by their own works of overcoming the desire not sit down and stay still in meditation. This metaphor of crucifying of the fleshly desires that Paul mentions is not what saves us. He insists it is not what saves us. He is simply encouraging those who are saved by faith in Jesus the Messiah, to follow the example of Jesus in becoming obedient to the spirit. However, there is nothing in the bible about being saved by your own works. Just the opposite. Good works are the manifestation of having faith in the atonement of Jesus Christ and the subsequent empowering by the Holy Spirit of the saints who hold fast to that belief. If you are not doing that, you are not doing Christianity even though you may subtly try to attach yourself to Christianity by calling it “esoteric” Christianity. It is paganism using bible versus that are tweaked way off the scale so it fits into a paganistic belief systems. You may obtain an elevated self-awareness. But that is not salvation, it is an immediate consequence of self effort. But to mistake that for redemption is running off to the airport when the ship is coming into harbor. You will be missing the boat, even if you pursue that way long enough, you will be trying to sink the boat.

My take on all this is that we should not mistake a form of self-awareness to be more than it is , even though it may do some good. Self-awareness is not salvation. The bible exhorts us over and over again from Genesis to Revelations to stick with the prescribed plan of a power higher than ourselves, and demonstrates the good results of followers who do that, and the immediate or eventual bad results of those who go against it as a result of self-rationalizations. We should not keep mistaking a lamppost for the living God.

Reply

Joshua Tilghman March 12, 2016 at 2:19 pm

Robert,

Thanks for another great comment. You are absolutely correct about those in the traditional church community who exhibit great self-awareness and love. And I do believe that even Orthodoxy has its place. It is very beneficial for some people. Without my own upbringing in that setting, I might not ever have become so acquainted with the Bible. I am thankful for the experience.

I understand your reasoning for having trouble believing that we can rely on meditation to crucify the ego. But I think you maybe misunderstanding something about the process. It is true, we are not saved by works. But meditation has nothing to do with works. There is a bigger picture some of my articles probably fail to address which I may have to clarify with a future post. Let me explain briefly here:

Many people mistakenly accuse Paul for preaching a different gospel of salvation than Jesus and Peter. The Gospels and Peter suggests salvation is by faith and works. A literal reading of Paul suggests to some that we are saved by faith and grace alone. But Paul’s writings are hard to understand and veiled in much symbolism (as is the Gospels, but Paul is even more difficult to comprehend without esoteric interpretation). Our works are the responsibility we all have to develop the moral nature, which much come first and which Moses himself is symbolic of. The law prepares the soul for the type of salvation that Paul addresses, which cannot be fulfilled by the law itself. The law is symbolic of preparing the soul and bringing it to the door of salvation per se, however, the law is not the actual door itself (the inner Christ is). This is where going within and meditation comes in. From what you have said above, it seems you believe meditation is about works. I can see your point when one thinks of it as a system. But true meditation is yielding, and the process of gaining salvation has nothing to do with us (the ego, intellect, etc.) In this sense, meditation has nothing to do with works. It is the process where we yield to God.

If believing in Christ alone saves us, to what are we being saved into? And what does that look like? Does Jesus automatically give us higher awareness and make us like him through a doctrine of belief alone? Does he just give it to us because we have been faithful in our belief of his atoning work? Does simply believing something transform and renew the mind, and create a new creature that will be like Jesus. No, only and experience can do this. The Gnostics wanted to experience God, not just know of him. Meditation brings us to this place, because consciousness IS spirit, and all consciousness is really one.

You say we should not mistake self-awareness for more than it is. Of course being more mindful of ourselves and our surroundings is not the end-goal of advanced meditation. Experiencing God is. We will never find the Kingdom of God on the outside, even through belief. A belief is just that, a belief, and has no transformative power at all. There is a point in meditation where something happens within the individual consciousness that connects us to God. It is not considered works because it’s nothing that WE can do. God does this. How you define what that God is is ultimately futile, because whatever God is cannot be comprehended by linear thought. The advanced meditation that brings this on (from what I have studied and intuition) will never be obtained through meditation practices sold in bookstores and online courses. And it doesn’t take place even after years of meditating. It takes time, and the mind that is ready will receive it I believe by faith in performing it at a time that no one can know. That is between the individual and God.

I hope that helps.

Reply

Dangerous Christian March 10, 2016 at 9:32 pm

Hey Josh.

Thanks for breaking down the true meaning of Leviticus 18:22; 20:13. Many literalists forget that Leviticus was geared to the Jewish Levitical priesthood; and should not be binding to 21st Century Christians. And when explained esoterically, the two passages make even more sense-especially since this was to be a guidebook for Israel’s priestly class.

You’re now a part of my blog’s blogroll. I want people to know about your site, so all they have to do is click on the title and they’ll be taken to this site.

Thanks again and keep up the good work! Peace!

Reply

Joshua Tilghman March 10, 2016 at 11:37 pm

Dangerous Christian,

I enjoyed doing the post. It will always be my mission to provide the deeper spiritual truths unveiled through the esoteric perspective. I consider it a humble honor. And thanks for the blogroll addition!

Blessings.

Reply

Claudine March 12, 2016 at 6:47 am

Hi all,

This is such an interesting topic and I love the way you handle it Josh. Thanks for all the time you take preparing and researching to write these articles each month. It’s obvious so many of us enjoy being here and we get a lot out of it. And Robert, as usual you bring the balance. Even in the previous post about the gorging quails, between you, Raymond, Paul and Josh I always feel I learn so much! I take everything you guys write and read it objectively. I love the way you guys can disagree respectfully and civilly. It shows real maturity.

I was looking into this topic of homosexuality back in September last year myself. My husband and I travelled to Istanbul Turkey last year. One of the places we visited was the beautiful Topkapi Palace which was once the major residence of the Ottoman Sultan. Our tour guide explained how the imperial harem was run by the chief eunuchs who’d been castrated probably from a young age. All this got me thinking about eunuchs and if they were asexual or gay? Anyway googling away I found this very interesting and well researched essay. It references biblical scriptures and history (with links to all footnotes and resources) to prove what a eunuch was/is. It’s relevant to your current topic.

Please read it if you get a chance:

http://www.well.com/user/aquarius/thesis.htm

Cheers!
Claudine

Reply

Joshua Tilghman March 12, 2016 at 1:32 pm

Thanks Claudine. I did read the article. It is strange that Jesus mentions some eunuchs are born that way. Obviously Jesus isn’t speaking literally since you can’t castrate someone before they are born. So that brings up a great point that I had never thought about. Perhaps Jesus meant that some are born with an advanced moral nature. But I still think Mark is missing the bigger picture in trying to establish that Jesus meant a born eunuch was a person born gay.

Reply

Jeff Stone March 14, 2016 at 3:01 am

For as long as I can remember, I’ve viscerally felt judging homosexuals or anyone else was not my place. Scripture of course made that abundantly clear for reasons I understood far too well. (“Do not judge, or you too will be judged.” Matthew 7:1) Even Paul could not ascend on righteousness alone, and I can’t even think about comparing myself to Paul. (“For I tell you that unless your righteousness surpasses that of the Pharisees and the teachers of the law, you will certainly not enter the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:20) Someone might argue that perhaps dangerous criminals should also be free of judgment but that person would be disregarding Christ’s admonition to be “shrewd as snakes and as innocent as doves.” (Matthew 10:16)

Discernment and judgment are much different matters. Sometimes it’s a matter of personal safety and other times law. Christ further illustrated this subtle nuance in a different way when He said we should “…give back to Caesar what is Caesar’s, and to God what is God’s.” (Matthew 22:1-21)

I also understood Christ repeatedly told the Disciples to follow his commandment to “love one another.” The Advocate (or Holy Spirit, etc.) was promised to those who followed this commandment to love one another. (John 14: 15-31) Christ also told the Disciplines if they loved one another they would follow his commandments, which further reinforced the cyclically self-fulfilling nature of his love and desire for unity. (Jesus replied: “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. And the second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’ All the Law and the Prophets hang on these two commandments.” Matthew 22:27-40)

Your work sheds new light. Consistent with those teachings, it further solidifies the concepts of the kingdom within and the Oneness possible through Christ. Darkness provides plenty of opportunity for us stumble without us creating more obstacles. We don’t necessarily have to like or understand everyone. It may even be inherently infeasible. But to be complete in Christ we do have to sincerely love everyone—just as we have to pray for our enemies and love each other.

May peace and the unity Christ sought be yours always,

Jeff
John 17:20-23

Reply

Joshua Tilghman March 14, 2016 at 9:00 pm

Thank you for your comment, Jeff. When we wade through the literal mayhem, deeper revelations which transcend the ego await us. Blessings.

Reply

lisa maree June 1, 2016 at 9:16 pm

I cant Believe the crap I read from Christian fakers ,funny little minded slows.. really how warm new age Satanic puke .. keep on with your New age one world religion changing every word into your own LOVE everybody Dharma .. Good luck when you find the God you follow is not the same one in the Torah.. hope you like the smell of sulphur

Reply

Stacy June 17, 2016 at 5:26 pm

Hi Joshua,
After I came to know that the Bible was spiritual allegory I realized that homosexuality was not being literally condemned, but for years could not grasp the spiritual meaning. Recently, it finally came to me. I considered your take on it first, but it didn’t seem quite right.
Your understanding matches mine when you say that the female is our emotional side and the male represents the reasoning side. So, the pairing of male and female happens within one person. If I read your explanation correctly, you seem to be saying that a second actual man is involved in what the Bible is actually condemning when it mentions “man with another man.” I think there may be a better way to understand it.
It is my understanding that when the Bible condemns adultery it is talking about trying to pursue spiritual wisdom (one female) while also still pursuing earthly interests/pleasures (the other female within us).
So, as humans we have within us male and female aspects. But as spiritual beings there is another pair of male and female within us, namely: spiritual understanding and wisdom.
So, anyway, my thought is, that trying to grasp spiritual things in an intellectual manner, rather than doing what is actually required, is what the Bible is condemning.
It seems to me that this is actually something that we all do endlessly, before we have an insight that finally moves us past our intellectual attempts. Perhaps, Zen Koans and Zen Stories are aimed at exactly getting the seeker to stop grasping intellectually and experience an insight directly.
If this intellectual error is very common, but the Bible only mentions the “man with man” thing a few times I think that is probably evidence that the Bible writers did not want to make a big deal out of literal homosexuality. Being obsessed with sexual gratification of any sort can harm spiritual progress, I agree with you that the Bible is not singling out same sex activity.

Reply

Joshua Tilghman July 2, 2016 at 12:47 pm

Stacy,

Very interesting comment. I shall reflect.

Reply

Robert Taylor June 20, 2016 at 12:06 pm

Whom ever wrote this documents , must be living a undercover life, due to the false justification of these scriptures. Foolish Men, with wicked Men in High places. This is what this is. You are lying and the truth is not in you. The bible says be fruitful and Multiply, you can’t do that with two Men together, or women. Also, the bibles clearly states, put your trust in no man, no man, they will lie to you. If the Most High God would have wanted a man to lie with another man, he would have made a man for Adam , rather than a what he did make was a woman , in which he said was good. Why are people fabricating for what they want to do anyway. Do you, just know it’s a price too pay for demonstrating that what the lord did make for you, wasn’t good enough, ARE YOU THAT BAD!

Reply

Joshua Tilghman July 2, 2016 at 1:18 pm

Robert,

Everyone has the right to interpret as they see fit. You are still seeing everything from a literal perspective, which is understandable, because I once did as well.

Reply

Ross August 23, 2016 at 8:55 pm

Judge not lest ye be judged. Nothing to interpret here.
Love thy neighbor as thyself. Pretty straight forward.
We dwell in paradise when we are in conscious union with God. We left paradise when we mistook ourselves to be the mind of the flesh we are animating. We ate of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil when we identified with mind because the mind knows only good and evil. Life lived through the mind is forever swinging back and forth between peace and angst. When we stop seeing everything as good and evil and accept everything in life to be the manifestation of a perfect God we will stop judging our neighbor and find peace. God is. Much of what Jesus tells us becomes clearer if we look from the perspective that everything is God and he animates all life. Joel Goldsmith has many interesting ideas on this subject for anyone interested. Peace and love to all.

Reply

Britany Phillips December 30, 2016 at 3:32 pm

Thank you for this blog. I’ve searched within and without for these perspectives. I bless my higher self for bringing me here. As a woman in a marriage with another woman, this perspective helps to clarify some of the questions people, including myself have about this taboo topic. I love my wife and felt that there is no way my creator can condemn the love we share. We both have make and female qualities of reason, nurturing, assertiveness etc. And understand the need for both in this duality. Some feel that homosexuality stems from purely sexual desires. For us, this is not the truth. Our bond is deeper than physical sex. She grounds me and I helobher to elevate her concioussness. My mom calls us the fairy and the troll, however endearing because i flutter around in spirit and she is so grounded. This is the balance!

Reply

Leave a Comment

Previous post:

Next post: